Business picks up but employment levels fall

Business activity in picked up last month, signalling economic recovery, but employment levels are continuing to fall, an Ulster Bank survey suggests.

Output and new orders picked up after sharp falls earlier in the year but employment levels continued to decline.

Retail, manufacturing and construction have reported a strong rebound in growth coming from very low levels.

While some firms benefited from reopening, others are reporting that new work has not been as quick to return as expected.

Furniture retailer companies are also struggling and many of them are closing some of their stores, with the loss more jobs. Norwich-based Mattressman blamed "struggling sales in the current retail climate", saying it needed to "downsize" as part of a "restructuring process".